By Skye Taylor -- Mainstream, 372 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Matt Steele has a no-nonsense plan to fix the economy and restore America’s legacy, Roland Miller dominates the polls, and the first Independent candidate with a realistic chance to win the presidency has the determination to get there at any cost. All three have secrets that could derail everything.
“We can marry? Yes?” Mai Ly’s gaze scanned the room beyond Matt, looking for Sam. Finding it empty, she looked back at Matt with a question in her eyes.
She looked so delicate, but beneath the beautiful, fragile exterior was a tough, determined survivor. Sam’s fiancée had lived through more of hell than anyone Matt had ever known, yet she remained confident, sunny and resilient. It was one of the things that made her so attractive to men, especially to Sam. And to Matt himself, if he was honest about it. He prayed she would be strong enough to bear the latest blow life had delivered.
Sam was dead. He shouldn’t have been in harm’s way at all. He’d only been sent to guard the perimeter at the DAO headquarters from unruly mobs, not from enemy shells. And Matt had to tell Mai Ly that Sam wasn’t coming back.
Mai Ly reached for the paper in Matt’s hand. The precious bit of paper she and Sam had been waiting for authorizing their marriage.
“He’s gone, Mai Ly.”
Mai Ly scanned the page, and then looked at Matt in confusion. “Gone home? To the USA? Without me?”
“He was killed.”
Mai Ly’s eyes widened. “No! Sam is at the embassy. Nothing bad can happen there.” Her gaze searched the room again with desperate disbelief.
Matt watched the hope in her eyes give way to agonized despair. “Sam was guarding the airfield. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Matt wanted to smash his fist through the paper-thin walls of the apartment he and Sam had shared. Walls that had sheltered the growing love affair between his friend and Mai Ly. He was furious with the ambassador and all the foot dragging that had cost Sam his life. Furious that any of them were in Vietnam at all.“Wrong place,” Matt muttered aloud. Then his voice faded to a broken whisper. “Wrong time.”